The EU’s top court has ruled that anti-Semitism must be prevented in the bloc if the continent is to survive.
The Strasbourg court ruled that it is “unacceptable” for the EU to “denigrate the Jewish people and the Jewish state”.
The ruling was made on Tuesday, as the EU prepares to discuss the fate of its future, with talks set to begin on Friday.EU leaders are due to discuss a new set of anti-discrimination rules and new proposals for the bloc’s future relationship with Israel, which were agreed last week.
The EU’s new laws are due for review in September.
The court found that the bloc is “incompatible” with European values, the EU’s Council of Ministers said in a statement.
It said it is unacceptable that “anti-Semitic and xenophobic discourse, acts and behaviours” have “been and continue to be part of everyday life” in Europe.
The European Commission has already called on member states to do more to stop anti-Semitic incidents.
However, it said the Commission’s approach is not “the only way forward”.
The Commission has asked member states not to punish individuals or organisations for speaking out against anti-semitism, saying such action will be “counterproductive” to tackling anti-Jewish hatred.
European governments are still debating the EU treaty with Israel which gives Israel immunity from EU legislation.
Israel has long been a target of European criticism over its treatment of Palestinians.
Last month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticised EU member states for failing to speak out against his country’s anti-Palestinian policies.
The Israeli government is the largest recipient of EU funds, but it is not the only country with policies that critics have described as anti-Israel.
The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia are among the countries that have rejected EU sanctions.
The ruling from the EU court was welcomed by the European Jewish Congress.
“It’s a big victory for the Jewish community in Europe,” the EJCW said in statement.
“The court has shown the EU can do something in the face of anti-[Semitism] hatred.”
The court’s ruling is the first to specifically address anti-semitism, the EJCW said.
It called on the EU Commission to work to make the rules more inclusive.
“We will see how the Council will respond in the coming weeks,” it added.EU Council President Jean-Claude Juncker said the ruling showed that the EU was a global leader.
The Council of the European Jews has called for a “major change in the EU law”.
It said the court’s decision was “a step in the right direction” but the Council was not satisfied with its proposals.
The council has been pushing for the new anti-racism rules since last year.
The EJCw said the European Parliament had previously failed to respond to its requests.
“If there is a solution to this problem, the European parliament must come forward with a new resolution,” it said.
“This will only be possible if it takes the measures necessary to prevent the discrimination against the Jewish race.”